UpFront with Mary Hendricks, 08/31/2014

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

August 31, 2014

Romans 12: 1-2

Let’s look at one sentence from this two-sentence reading from St. Paul: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

One of the workouts I do is called “Isometrix,” which involves holding a yoga-type pose for 45 seconds. It is not easy. I’m looking at the clock after 15 seconds, every tendon and muscle shaking, and, as my exercise guru Tony Horton says, “pouring sweat from just standing there.

For the “inner balance” pose, you stand on one leg, the other about an inch off the floor, fold your hands, and close your eyes. No problem…until you close your eyes. As Tony says, “That’s when the game changes.”

I challenged Son #1, who is always up for a competition, to hold the inner balance pose for 45 seconds and then set the timer. Five seconds. Fail. Three seconds. Fail. Eight seconds. Fail. Then, within five minutes, he did it, even surpassing the 45-second mark. How?

“When you close your eyes, your body goes into hyper-alert about what’s going on. It’s the same as when you’re sleeping and feel like you’re falling in a dream—you immediately jerk up, fully awake, and brace yourself to stop the fall. I just turned off my mind. I didn’t think about anything, and I was able to keep my balance.” Thanks, son, but my mind doesn’t have an “off” switch. Which made him launch into a 15-minute lecture on negative thinking and how to overcome it.

But, you know what? I tried it. Can’t say I’ve hit 45 seconds, but I’m almost there. I “renewed” my mind.

Is St. Paul talking about positive thinking? It’s way more than that. He is telling us to “be transformed.” That means, by dictionary definition, to “make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character.” Thorough and dramatic. God isn’t looking for positive thinkers, although I’m sure he appreciates an upbeat person. He wants minds that are formed in his way of thinking.

How is that done, exactly? How do you think like God thinks?

One way is to read his Word. God speaks to us in Scripture, and his Holy Spirit helps us understand what we are hearing and reading. When you read the Bible, ask yourself, “What does this mean for my daily life?” You’ll get answers.

Another is to study God’s Word with others. In September, our Scripture study groups will start meeting again. You can meet on Monday nights at 6pm  or Tuesday afternoon at 1pm in the parish meeting room, 11am on Tuesday at the Tierney house (call for directions), and at 6pm Tuesday at Criss Manor. We provide the books that examine the Sunday readings. Not only will you share thoughts and learn, you also will make connections with your St. Pat’s family. Watch the bulletin for dates.

While you’re at it, memorize a few verses. Don’t worry about chapter and verse—I can rarely tell you where a verse is from—but keep some key verses in your memory bank. When a problem is causing me to obsess, I repeat, “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Always calms me.

Lastly, slow down and listen. Get away from the distractions—TV, cell phone, radio. God is speaking to us. Let’s listen and be transformed.

 

 

 

 

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